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Ernst Advocates for Continued Support in Response to Avian Flu Outbreaks

“Collaboration is key.”

WASHINGTON – In light of the recent detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in two Iowa counties, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee advocated for efforts to support farmers—especially beginning farmers—impacted by foreign animal diseases like HPAI.

In May, Ernst also called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other necessary agencies to provide public and state agencies with coordinated, up-to-date, and accurate information on the spread of avian flu.

Ag hearing

Watch her full line of questioning here.

“Our poultry and livestock producers are very focused on foreign animal disease preparedness and biosecurity,” Ernst said.

“Our turkey and our egg producers have been hit very hard by Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza,” she continued. “While we have been free of the virus since December of last year, just in this last week, now we have identified bird flu in an egg-laying facility with 4.2 million chickens in the northwest corner of the state, and then we’ve got another farm with over 100,000 turkeys in a nearby county. Now, we do have the USDA indemnification program, and that does help, but the farmer is at a loss of any income that would have been expected from that flock.”

She also called out the lack of new free trade agreements under the Biden administration, which especially hurts young and beginning farmers.


Ernst has long been a champion of foreign animal disease prevention and preparedness efforts including her work to support the Beagle Brigade and the bipartisan Animal Disease and Disaster Prevention, Surveillance, and Rapid Response Act. She is also working to hold federal agencies accountable to providing public and state agencies with coordinated, up-to-date, and accurate information on the spread of HPAI.

Protecting and expanding export opportunities for Iowans by improving the proactive enforcement of U.S. agreements at the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and USDA is a priority for Ernst. After the USDA predicted a $30.5 billion agricultural trade deficit—which has now been increased to $32 billion—for fiscal year 2024, Ernst called out the Biden administration’s failure to prioritize trade. She is also leading the Expanding Agricultural Exports Act to strengthen the Market Access Program and Foreign Marketing Development Program, helping build strong commodity markets overseas and new export opportunities for Iowa farmers.